CSAS Lecture Series | Theory for a Global Age: Postcolonial Commitments, Interdisciplinary Entanglements
In this lecture, Bhambra asks how social theory could be differently conceptualized if we took seriously postcolonial and decolonial perspectives that bring to the fore global historical interconnections. Standard understandings of modernity, for example, rest, as Homi Bhabha argues, on ‘the writing out of the colonial and postcolonial moment’. The rest of the world is assumed to be external to the world-historical processes selected for consideration and, concretely, colonial connections significant to the processes under discussion are erased. By silencing the colonial past within historical narratives of modernity central to the formation of the social sciences, the conceptual architecture of disciplines themselves is called into question.
Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. For the academic year 2014-15, she was Visiting Fellow in the Department of Sociology, Princeton University and Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her research interests are primarily in the area of historical sociology and contemporary social theory and she is also interested in the intersection of the social sciences with recent work in postcolonial and decolonial studies. She is author of Connected Sociologies (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007) which won the 2008 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology. She has co-edited three collections, Silencing Human Rights (Palgrave, 2009); 1968 in Retrospect (Palgrave, 2009); and African Athena (OUP, 2011). She also set up the Global Social Theory website for those interested in social theory in global perspective. She tweets in a personal capacity @gkbhambra
Gurminder Bhambra, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick